Revisiting the “Classics”: Ed Wood’s THE BRIDE AND THE BEAST
This is an odd little movie—and I’m not sure how much credit we can give to Ed Wood for that. Largely missing from this one is Wood’s unmistakable, idiosyncratic dialogue. (Lest anyone doubt that this is a true Wood film, however, there are the numerous references to Angora in there to serve as proof!) Wood only wrote the screenplay for this, with Adrian Weiss directing (and, I’m telling you, doing some revising of the script; like a bowl of flavorful chili, or a good stout beer, that has been watered-down, that’s what this script feels like, robbed of much of its Woodian color and personality). Had Ed also directed, the film would certainly have had more personality, but it’s still an enjoyable if slightly dull exercise in camp filmmaking.
A big game hunter has just married a hot young number named Laura. He also is keeping a gorilla—named “Spanky,” I kid you not—in his basement. When Laura meets the ape, the two become immediately infatuated with each other, and Laura starts having nightmares. A physician friend hypnotizes Laura, revealing that she is in fact the reincarnation of a female gorilla. Then the hunter takes his bride to Africa for their honeymoon, and the plot regarding reincarnation and gorillas is promptly forgotten as this becomes a movie about two escaped maneating tigers. Then at the end, after being attacked by one of the tigers (an attack which leaves her without a mark on her), Laura’s gorilla nature reasserts itself and she runs off with a local tribe of shaggy anthropoids.
Don’t let the title fool you, though. This is a “straight” Horror movie, not one of the softcore porn films Wood was forced to make later in his career to pay the bills. There’s no smut here. What there IS is a ton of stock footage, so much that, were it removed, the film would only be about ten minutes long.
For a supposed-to-be Horror flick, THE BRIDE AND THE BEAST isn’t at all scary. It also isn’t as much fun as Wood’s films tend to be, which is a shame, because what with the tigers and the gorilla and the reincarnation, there was fodder there for a grand time. Still, it’s an Ed Wood movie, and thus worth seeking out. It just leaves you wishing it were MORE of an Ed Wood film.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!